Hooked on books

Book Review with Vijitha Yapa bookshps

Featured book : The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton (fiction)

Michael Crichton is dead at 66, but across more than two decades of writing he leaves behind an enduring legacy as one of science fiction's most popular writers. Crichton was best known as the author of Jurassic Park and the creator of ER. His most recent novel, Next, about genetics and law, was published in December 2006.

Crichton's first bestseller, The Andromeda Strain, was published while he was still a medical student. It was based on the theory that some biologists have put forward – that the first 'aliens' that mankind will encounter are most likely to be – like most life on earth – single-celled organisms, more comparable to bacteria than little green men. And even though such organisms would not likely be able to harm humans, the possibility exists that first contact might be our last.

The book introduces Nobel-Prize-winning bacteriologist, Jeremy Stone, who is responsible for urging the government to create an extraterrestrial decontamination facility to sterilize returning astronauts, satellites, and spacecraft that might carry any "unknown biologic agents." The result is the top-secret Wildfire Lab in the desert of Nevada. Shortly thereafter, unbeknownst to Stone, the U.S. Army initiates satellite program "Scoop," an attempt to actively collect space pathogens for use in biological warfare. When Scoop VII crashes a couple years later in the isolated Arizona town of Piedmont, the Army ends up getting more than it asked for – mostly in the way of many dead bodies, and a rapidly mutating organism that could wipe out life on earth if not contained. Crichton's first book may well be his best.

The Pagan Stone by Nora Roberts (fiction)

After three boys accidentally awaken an ancient evil near their small Maryland town, the tight-knit community finds itself lost to a Stephen King-style plague of madness and destruction for a week every seven years.

Twenty-one years later, those three boys, now grown, are hoping to find a way to stop the evil before its third return, which may mean the end of the town; they don't know much about the anomalies, but they do know that every time it gets stronger. This time, the town is graced by author Quinn Black, eager to document the paranormal mystery.

When two more women arrive – one an associate of Quinn's, the other led to town by strange visions – the circle of six decide to face the oncoming apocalypse together. Hyperprolific bestseller Roberts frontloads her story with drama and endearing characters, especially in Quinn and bowling alley owner Caleb Hawkins.

Divine Justice by David Baldacci (fiction)

Known by his alias, "Oliver Stone," John Carr is the most wanted man in America. With two pulls of the trigger, the men who destroyed Stone's life and kept him in the shadows were finally silenced.

But his freedom comes at a steep price: The assassinations he carried out prompt the highest levels of the U.S. government to unleash a massive manhunt. Behind the scenes, master spy Macklin Hayes is playing a very personal game of cat and mouse. He, more than anyone, wants Stone dead.

With their friend and unofficial leader in hiding, the members of the Camel Club risk everything to save him.

Now, as the hunters close in, Stone's flight from the demons of his past will take him from the power corridors of Washington, D.C., to the small, isolated coal-mining town of Divine, Virginia – and into a world every bit as lethal as the one he left behind.

All titles available at Vijitha Yapa Bookshop on request.

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